Archive for December 6th, 2011

Cayman’s sexual harassment problem

| 06/12/2011 | 35 Comments

As US Republican primary candidate Herman Cain stumbles and struggles under the weight of various sexual harassment charges from his past, Caymanians should refrain from chuckling and instead ask themselves why it is that Cayman never has any similar scandals involving our politicians.

These events become public spectacles on a regular basis not only in America but also in European countries as well. Meanwhile, we seem to be immune from the problem of men in power acting inappropriately toward women. Based on news coverage and court cases, one would think that our elected politicians and top civil servants are somehow above such behavior. Are they?

Of course Cayman has its fair share of predatory and disgusting creeps in positions of power! Only a fool would think otherwise. It is invisibility, not immunity, which explains the absence of sexual harassment charges scandalizing our top government officials on a regular basis. Such deeds go unpunished and unreported, but they do happen here.  We just don’t see these activities come to light in the news media or in the legal system because Cayman has a tradition of deferring to the powerful on such matters. Short of rape, one wonders what a powerful politician in this country would have to do to be condemned by society and run out of office.

For decades, it has been common knowledge that some of our most prominent leaders have behaved like unrestrained sex fiends during working hours. If only a small percentage of the whispers are true, it means many significant men in elected posts and appointed positions are constantly flirting with and propositioning women who find themselves uncomfortably under their spheres of influence and power. Ask any ten female civil servants what it’s like to work in a government office and it’s likely that more than half will share horror stories about unwanted advances from men who possess far more power and confidence than maturity and decency.

It is clear what needs tohappen in the Cayman Islands. Some victims, or perhaps just one with apowerful case to make, must come forward and raise hell about the behavior of one of these men who habitually attempt to leverage their political power for sex through favors or coercion. This is easier said than done, of course. It would not be easy for the woman. Backward-thinking people tend to leap right past the offender’s possible guilt and instead question the victim’s motives and character. If just one prominent figure was brought down, however, Cayman would move further down the road of progress and all of society would benefit. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Note: Victims of workplace sexual harassment in the Cayman Islands are encouraged to describe their stories in the comments below. Please do not name names or give any identifying details in this forum, however. If you do feel that you have suffered sexual harassment in the private sector or in government, consider consulting with a lawyer to find out what your options are in seeking justice.

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Christmas day is no holiday for Sunday, shift workers

| 06/12/2011 | 25 Comments

images_29.jpg(CNS): While everybody may be thinking that Sunday 25 December is a holiday, the Department of Employment Relations has a very different take and says Christmas Day is not in fact a holiday at all. Officials from the government job department said that because Christmas Day and Boxing Day are being observed on Monday, 26 December, and Tuesday, 27 December, respectively employees who normally work on Sundays do not need to be paid double time on 25 December (Christmas Day) if they normally work Sundays. The day is not considered to be a public holiday and is a normal work day, the DER stated. As the rest of Cayman settles down to some Christmas beef and festive turkey, Sunday employees and shift workers will be hard at work for no extra cash.

Employees who work on the Monday or Tuesday, however, will be entitled to double time for the hours worked on those days, the agency reminded employers. The DER also said the same applies to New Year’s Day, which also falls on a Sunday but which is a normal day, despite being 1 January, as the holiday falls on Monday, 2 January.

For further clarification and guidance, please contact the Department of Employment Relations at 945-3114.

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Dump future still in question

| 06/12/2011 | 61 Comments

dumphighestpoint2.jpg(CNS): As activists in Bodden Town plan to meet with their government MLAs to raise their concerns over proposals to put a new waste management site in their district, there is still no news on the future of the current dump in George Town. Although both the government and Dart have indicated that the ForCayman Alliance is still on thetable, there is growing speculation that the agreement government had signed with the UK will put a halt to the proposed public-private partnership with Dart. The deal, if it is ever signed, is expected to include the exchange of crown land for Dart property, in particular the landfill, as well as cash and a promise of future investment.

One of the many projects that the UDP government had promised to address when it came to office, the dump, like the development of cruise berhting facilities, has become mired in controversy as it continues to leach into the North Sound.

Although the ministry announced this time last year that the contract to manage and operate the landfill had gone to a US based waste management expert and their local partners after an open tendering process, an about face by the premier weeks after the announcement by the deputy premier’s ministry, saw that contract more or less negated. Juliana O’Connor Connolly, the minister with responsibility for the dump, has never made any public comment on the premier’s decision to override her ministry’s original plans.

Hopes that work on the ever-growing landfill would have begun earlier this year were dashed when the firm’s proposal to begin a waste-to-energy project, mine the dump and introduce a recycling programme were halted by the premier’s decision. Talks with Wheelabrator and CWML and a former member of the UDP, Peter Campbell, were stalled and the dump issue remains unaddressed

In January of this year Bush said he had agreed to allow Dart to have the current dump site in exchange for the development of a new facility in the Midlands Acre area of Bodden Town on land owned by the developer in the central wetlands area. This was based on the bid which Dart had submitted during the open tender for the project that had been rejected by the ministry’s technical committee.

In the spring, however, it became apparent that the Dart dump-swap was part of a wider deal between government and the islands’ biggest developer.

However, the people of the district say they have not been consulted and have now formed a coalition movement to prevent the government and its private sector partner from establishing the new site in the historic district. The Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free has been endorsed by opposition MLA for the district, Anthony Eden, but Dwayne Seymour and Mark Scotland have agreed to meet with the activists to discuss their concerns.

Vincent Frederick, a spokesperson for the project, said the activists intended to make it clear they could not support the dump being moved to their community and hoped the government MLAs would listen.  “We wonder if the request received is just ‘PR window dressing’ or if it’s a genuine attempt to listen to our concerns and to consider our demands,” he said with a degree of scepticism as he noted that from the beginning the people of Bodden Town were not consulted about this proposal.

“No effort at all has been made to explain to residents of Bodden Town why establishing a dump in our district is in our interests,” he said.  “It clearly is not in our interests.”

The coalition is asking the MLAs “to stand up for their constituents” and the district and to support the campaign against moving the dump to Bodden Town, giving voice to the interests of the people that voted the MLAs into office rather than those of a private company, Frederick added. The campaigners believe that not only will the proposal to move the dump threaten the integrity of the historic district and Cayman’s first capital but will challenge its already inadequate infrastructure and endanger the central wetlands. 

“It offers no jobs or economic growth to our district. On the contrary, it will be an immediate obstacle to new businesses being established here and to new residential developments.  While Dart’s real estate will increase in value, Bodden Towners will suffer a decrease in their property values,” Frederick said. The truth is that Bodden Towners are being told to accept this threat to its well-being, to its environment, to its potential economic growth and to its future for the good of Dart,” he said.

However, since government signed a framework agreement with the UK which requires an extensive independent business analysis and review of any proposed capital project, the ForCayman Alliance, of which the dump move is a key component, is likely to be delayed considerably even if it could still go ahead under the agreement.

CNS has contacted Dart to enquire about its plans to push ahead with capping and remediating the landfill in George Town and establishing what it has described as a state-of-the-art eco-waste management as well as its plans regarding the proposed investment deal and is awaiting a response.

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Bodden shuts down Elite as Sunset roll George Town

| 06/12/2011 | 0 Comments

Elites_Lanie_McLaughlin (246x300).jpg(CNS): In the Cayman Islands Women’s league Scholars and Cayman Islands NationalTeam playmaker Jetena Bodden helped spearhead a standout defensive performance this Saturday as Scholars International became the first team this season to take points from Elite Sports Club. Bodden is normally used as an attacking threat for both club and country but this weekend against front runners Elite she was assigned a defensive roll against Elite’s Shanice Monteith. The two players know each other very well as they both play for the Cayman Islands under 20 National Team. Shanice is more accustomed to getting on the end of crosses supplied by Jetena than having her kick at her heels.

Nevertheless the game was played in good spirit and on the sound of the final whistle both players shook hands.

The game started off scrappy as Scholars doggedly broke down any patterns of attacking play that Elite tried to put together, neither side were committing great numbers in attack and neither side wanted to be the first team to make a mistake. Shanice Monteith manufactured a few half chances out of nothing but nothing clear cut.  Scholars were still riding high after picking up their first win of the season last week over Future SC and they certainly looked more poised as they played out their game plan effectively. Mid-way through the first half a heavy fall from Elite’s Coutisha Ebanks resulted in an injury delay.

After a long pause the game resumed and the rest of the first half was played out goalless.

The second half was much more of the same; Scholars held their defensive line well and kept their shape, club captain Martika Williams rallied her team and led the backline with Jetena Bodden and Shelia O’Connor. Elite finally managed to create some opportunities in front of goal, substitute Nikki Ebanks setting up Shanice Monteith for her and Elite’s best chance in the 76th minute. Scholar’s goal keeper Kristina Seymour was alert and saved well.

On the balance of play a draw was a fair result, Scholars are now unbeaten in two games and have picked up 4 points out a possible 6 against Future and Elite moving up into third position in the league.

In contrast to this fixture the early match up saw Sunset F.C. hammer George Town SC 6:0. Sunset is known for their possession football and they used the ball well against George Town to create plenty of opportunities in front of goal.

Gisela_Gamba_scores_for_Sunset (300x226).jpgGisela Gamba stabbed home the first for Sunset, a Mya Romilowych cross found its way through a crowd of legs and Gamba tapped home to put her side up 1:0 in the 10th minute. Twelve minutes later a mirror image of the first created the second for Sunset, this time Gamba spun in the box after receiving the cross and fired the ball top right to put Sunset 2:0 up.

The goal of game came in the 27th minute, Charlotte Horne’s 35-yard free-kick stunned George Town keeper Marline Willians who was helpless as the ball powered by her and nested in the top left corner of the goal. It was an unstoppable strike by Horne who now has three goals this season.

Early in the second half Gisela Gamba completed her hat-trick, Mya Romilowych again the provider as she crossed low for Gamba who was in the right place yet again to put her team 4:0 up. Sarah Pinches got in on the act in the 56th minute to make it 5:0 before substitute Diana Willington came on to score in the 76th minute.

Going into week 6 of league play Sunset now have an opportunity to go into the Christmas break top of the league.

Current league leaders Elite SC have a bye week so a win for Sunset over Future by two or more goals will see them go top of the pile heading into the festive break. Scholars will look to continue their good form as they take on bottom side George Town this coming Saturday. For up to date information visit www.facebook.com/caymanfootball 

Cayman Islands Women’s League: Week 6 Fixtures
Saturday, December 10, 2011: 5:00pm: Annex: Scholars International vs. George Town S.C
Saturday, December 10, 2011: 7:00pm: Annex: Sunset F.C. vs. Future S.C.

See league standings below

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Police charge driver in latest fatal road smash

| 06/12/2011 | 18 Comments

IMG-20111130-00037.jpg(CNS): An 31-year-old man has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving. Patrick Raymond Brooks-Dixon appeared in court Tuesday 6 December charged with killing Richard Martin, aged 52, from Pennsylvania, USA, who was a student at St Matthew’s University and living on Grand Cayman. The fatal crash occurred on Esterly Tibbetts Highway in the early hours of Wednesday, 30 November, close to the Lakeside Villas entrance. Martin, who was driving a Honda Logo, was pronounced dead at the scene when his car was hit by Brooks-Dixon in a Chevrolet Blazer. His passenger was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Chevrolet Blazer and his female passenger were also taken to hospital but the driver was later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence. The man was released on bail after his appearance in summary court.

Martin was the sixth person to be killed on Cayman’s roads this year.
 

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Olympus banker sells home for $10, heads to Cayman

| 06/12/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Hajime Sagawa, the Japanese banker whose firm received $687 million in fees as part of Olympus Corp’s $2.1 billion buyout of Gyrus Group Plc, is believed to be here in Cayman staying at his Seven Mile Beach condo after selling his home in Florida to his wife for only $10, according to a report on Bloomberg. Axam Investments, a Cayman Islands-based fund of which Sagawa was a director, got all but $17m of the $687m in fees paid in the scandal being investigated by Japanese authorities and the FBI. Gary Nevis, Sagawa’s brother-in-law, toldBloomberg that he had left Florida for a month after divorcing his wife and selling her their Boca Raton home. Read more on CNS business.

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Port trouble continues

| 06/12/2011 | 104 Comments

P1010301.JPG(CNS): The controversies over government’s goal to create cruise berthing facilities continued this week amid board reshuffles, negotiator swaps, leaked emails, alternative plans from local mariners and still no time line for a final agreement with what is now the third set of proposed developers. Cline Glidden, who had, according to a leaked email, advised his UDP colleagues to move forward with GLF on the day the premier wrote to the firm rejecting them, has now been replaced by George Town MLA Ellio Solomon as government’s lead negotiator with the developers. Despite the obvious difference of opinion between the West Bay MLA and the premier, however, Cline Glidden told CNS that he remains a member of the UDP.

Glidden’s leaked email indicates that on 14 April he sent documentation to his UDP parliamentary colleagues, including the premier, stating that GLF had the financing in place and had gone as far as could be expected without having a full agreement in place. He wrote that in the short four month period after the collapse of negotiations with Dart GLF had taken the project to the required place and had an acceptable plan.

“My recommendation is that we approve the main agreement which allows the project to be started,” Glidden wrote around 8pm on the evening of 14 April 2011, clearly unaware that his boss and premier, McKeeva Bush, had already written to the Italian firm’s Florida office telling them that he was terminating the negotiations. Glidden asked for feedback from his UDP colleagues as he said he was being “asked from all quarters” about the project, one which he noted the government had committed to moving on.

Glidden has not left the party, regardless of the obvious slap in the face from the premier, who had clearly not informed the man he had set in place to negotiate on the project.

A few months after the premier’s decision to reject GLF and move into talks with the Beijing based firm China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), without consulting either Glidden or the Port Authority Board, the premier signed a “ministerial MOU” with CHEC. Following the departure of the board chair and other members, the premier appointed a new board. Since then at least two of the new members, including Nick Freedland, have also resigned.

Last week, Bush announced that the MOU with CHEC, which expired last month, had been extended to March and that a business case review was being conducted by KPMG to satisfy the requirements under the new financial agreement government has signed with the UK when it comes to capital projects. However, he has given no details of the future timeline or the direction of the project in terms of the demands being made by CHEC for a 51 year lease and retail outlets, as well as the expected share in the passenger fees from the cruise association.

Delivering the government’s Strategic Policy Statement last week, Bush made no more than a passing mention about the project.

Meanwhile, a group of sea captains and a growing number of supporters are now pushing in earnest for government to reconsider the location and examine a proposal they have put forward for Red Bay location for the berthing facilities, which they say has considerable advantages over the George Town project, from social and environmental impacts to traffic and poor weather conditions.

The sea captains have submitted their proposal to government and the governor but it is still not clear if the option is being given any consideration. The captains have called a public meeting for Tuesday evening at the Seafarers Hall in Red Bay at 7:30pm to draw attention to what they say is far more sensible plan.

CNS has contacted KPMG to ask if the alternative proposal will be considered in its business case analysis for the cruise berthing facilities project.

All of the issues surrounding the stalled port development sit against a backdrop of falling cruise passenger visitor numbers which reached an all-time low in October and an increasingly frustrated tourism industry.

See email from glidden below.

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Rape charges stack up against Barnes

| 06/12/2011 | 0 Comments

bodden-barnes (250x300).jpg(CNS): Police have now charged 32-year-old Jeffrey Barnes with another count of rape and one of abduction in connection with an incident which took place in Admiral’s Landing on 29 October. Barnes already faces charges for sexual assault, aggravated burglary and rape following his arrest on 1 November at an apartment in Ocean Club in the wake of three different reports of sexual assault where Barnes was believed to be the perpetrator. This latest charge relates to an assault on a 49 year old woman on 29 October in the middle of the morning. The woman was reportedly forced into the car Barnes was said to be driving and taken to Admiral's Landing, where she was assaulted.

Earlier that same morning the 32 year old sexual predator who has previous convictions for rape and sexual assault had tried to lure an eleven year old girl into the car but had been unsuccessful but later forced the victim who was waiting for a bus into his vehicle.

Barnes is expected in court later today and Tuesday 6 December but police are believed to still be investigating a further accusation made against Barnes in relation to an incident which took place a few days before the rape in Admiral’s landing. He has also been charged with rape in connection with an assault on a teenage relative.

 

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Gaelic football: Cayman Islands takes on Dublin

| 06/12/2011 | 0 Comments

(Mayo News): When the Dublin footballers decided to go on their team holiday in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, one Westport man saw a wonderful opportunity.
Paul Broderick (28), who is the Chairman of the Cayman Islands Gaelic football club, saw an opening for an occasion to remember — a match with the reigning All-Ireland champions.
Feelers were duly put out, Dublin readily agreed, and the game took place on Sunday last on Grand Cayman. “To think we saw them playing in one of the greatest All-Ireland finals ever a few months ago and now here they were, playing against us, it was surreal,” Broderick told The Mayo News last night. “We were over the moon when they agreed. It was such a huge boost for our club and a huge honour for me as club chairman.”

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Professions at war on changes to mutual fund law

| 06/12/2011 | 0 Comments

article-0-0055E390000004B0-614_468x310.jpg(CNS Business): The country’s legal and accounting professions were described as being “at war” by the premier in the Legislative Assembly on Monday as he pushed through changes to the mutual fund law calling for the regulation and registration of master funds. The amendments, which also introduce a $2,500 registration fee for each fund, have raised a number of significant concerns in the offshore profession among lawyers and fund directors. The government’s own financial council has questioned the wisdom of the changes but the premier said government needed revenue and it had to anticipate the international pressure regarding regulation of the fund industry. With the support of just the local accounting profession, the premier has pressed ahead with the amendments. Read more on CNS Business

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